Saturday, August 22, 2009

Let The Party Begin!

God is throwing a party by invitation only. I can’t speak for you but I can speak for myself. I want to be invited! Psalm 15 is a list of the qualities that God is looking for in the people He plans to invite.

I think I come out OK on most of the qualifications but one was really tripping me up, the idea of not taking up a reproach against another. Usually this verse (Ps 15:3) is translated that you will do no harm against another. But there is another just as valid way of interpreting this verse. We are not to shoulder the wrongs done to a friend of ours either. You see they have cause for action but we don’t and when they are given redress or cancel the debts for the wrongs done to them we can still be royally angry and there is nothing we can do about it but let it go. The wrong was not done against neither are we owed an apology for what our friend suffered.

“So how does that apply?” you might ask.

Have you ever had people who are no longer a part of your life because they disappointed you or failed to live up to a Biblical principle? I recently was thinking about a person who at one time was a friend of mine and who miserably failed to do the right thing, the honorable thing the Biblical thing for a mutual friend of ours.

It has been years since the incident happened. And I had kinda let the friendship drop because when push came to shove my friend chose the safe way and not the right way. He ran away from the issue instead of meeting it head on. I have always felt bad about the outcome. Our mutual friend was hurt and a leader in authority continued to sexually assault women for years because witnesses valued their jobs over the truth. Sometimes it easier to turn your head and pretend it never happened then to stand for truth, justice and the Biblical way.

So what made me re-approach my friend from years ago? A couple of things: One, I needed to forgive him for being weak. After all I haven’t always been as strong as I should have (Something about casting the first stone or something like that). And two, Psalm 15 tells us that we are not to take up an offense for another. (Yes, Gertrude, the Hebrew can be read that way. The ancient rabbis encouraged us to look at each Biblical concept taught in Scripture as a multifaceted jewel with many different connection points.) So, for me to continue to carry a grudge, for a wrong not done to me but to my friend, has no Biblical basis.

Someone who wants to be invited into God’s house we must be willing to live up to the expectations laid down in Psalm 15. That’s how you and I get invited to God’s party.

So let the party begin!

Pastor Val